The Great Summer Grill Guide

If you’re looking forward to an outdoor barbecue this summer and you’re in search of the best new grill for your money, here are some tips to help you decide based on the money and space you have and the kind of flavor and texture you want.

Fuel for Your Fire

A quick look through any home improvement store may tell you that charcoal grills are (in general) cheaper than gas grills. The cheapest charcoal grill for example can run you about $20 while the cheapest gas grill might cost about $129, according to This is because you’re cooking with a naturally-burning fire and fuel source, so there are no tanks or valves involved and little assembly is required.

But the cost of what you’re burning might be a better deciding factor when you’re weighing whether to choose charcoal or gas.

Since you can turn a gas grill on or off practically instantly, the cost of fuel can depend on how long you’ll be grilling and how you grill, but the price comparison is generally considered a wash.

You’ll spend a little more than $1 per hour to fuel a propane grill and about $1.70 to start up a charcoal grill, according to However, your charcoal grill’s heat will likely last more than an hour, and in some cases, it could last several hours.

Charcoal vs. Gas

Charcoal or gas? It’s likely the first question you’ll face when you enter a store looking for your ideal grill. And your decision can determine not just how much you’ll spend but how much preparation and cleanup you’ll have to do and even what kind of flavor you’ll get from the meat.

Where you live can also help you determine whether you should get a charcoal or gas grill. If you have a small backyard, or you live in a dry climate that’s prone for brush or forest fires, a gas grill could be your safest bet since your fire is less likely to burn out of control.

The Merits of Charcoal

Die-hard charcoal users swear by its ability to add a smokier flavor to meats. Adding some wood chips can multiply those effects. You can place them directly on the coals, as the Barbecue Bible suggests, or put them into a smoker box designed to hold the chips.

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